I was once doing some work for a great computer repairs company that fixes computers in Melbourne and Sydney called Itsfixed. Upon working on their website (which has recently changed), I realised that they had a lot of pages. Generally, a lot of pages means a lot of content which can be highly effective for SEO, providing that content is of good quality.
An abundance of content however, can come with its problems. One thing that companies with a lot of pages need to watch out for in particular is a duplicate title tag problem. Such was the case with the website for Itsfixed that I was working on.
A duplicate title tag problem means that a site has many similar title tags on their website. Let’s say for instance that a company, like the case of Itsfixed is targeting a keyword like “computer repairs Melbourne”. For optimal SEO, they should have then one page, a targeted page, with useful and good quality content on computer repairs in Melbourne. On this page, they should have a title tag that includes this keyword phrase. For example their title tag may be:
Computer repairs Melbourne | Itsfixed Computer Repairs
However, such a title should remain on one page and one page alone on a website. The problem large sites tend to have is that they include their targeted keyword phrases on multiple title tags of their many webpages, often without even knowing it! How does this this usually happen? Website content management systems will often allow users to set taglines or title extensions that are added onto every page of a website. It is common for some users to put their targeted keywords into these taglines and title extensions. This extrapolates a keyword, multiplying it to spread to every page on a website.
How can you identify if this has been the case? A great tool we love to use is that of Screaming Frog Spider tool. You can download this tool for free. There is also a paid option, though the free option suffices in most instances. When you launch this application, put your URL in the Enter URL to spider field and simply click on start.
The tool will scan your site. It will powerfully reveal information that has been implemented on your webpages. This is a tool that I highly recommend for anyone serious in effective onsite optimistation. One capability of the tool is its ability to identify all the title tags on a website. Simply click on the page titles tab of the application and all title tags on all pages of a site will be revealed. This will allow you to see what your title tags are and if there are indeed any duplicates. Remember that ideal SEO involves your targeted keyword on just one webpage of your site, that being the targeted webpage for that keyword.
How to fix the problem? Once you have used the Screaming Frog tool to identify the problem, it then comes time to fix it. To do this, you will need to go into the content management system of your website, or alternatively the hard code if you do not have a content management system. Go into each page where a duplicate title tag is existent and change it so a duplication no longer exists. Yes, this can possible be tedious! If you have added a tagline or title extension that possesses keywords, change it in your content management system.
What will be the effect? Generally, duplicate title tags confuse search engines like Google and can dilute rankings. You want to make it super clear to Google what your targeted page is designated for a particular keyword and look to put on it suitable content and an apt title tag. You also want to ensure that no other page conflicts with this targeted page, this means that no other page shares its title tag. Doing this will lead to more effective onsite optimisation and ultimately better rankings for your desired keywords.